Surveillance powers lapse while Senate debates House bill

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An exterior photograph of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (File photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans have agreed to begin debate on a House bill that would overhaul the National Security Agency’s handling of American calling records. And they would do it while preserving other domestic surveillance provisions.

But that remarkable turnabout didn’t happen soon enough to prevent the laws governing the programs from expiring at midnight Sunday. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a presidential contender, stood in the way of extending the program, angering his GOP colleagues and frustrating intelligence and law enforcement officials.

Now, the question is whether the Senate will pass a bill the House can live with. If so, the surveillance programs will resume, with some significant changes in how the phone records are handled. If not, they will remain dormant.

By KEN DILANIAN, AP Intelligence Writer

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